Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On the Record...

I want to go on the record with my Blazer thoughts prior to tonight's tipoff. First, I am extremely excited about the potential of this team. Portland has serious talent at all positions, but it's unproven and young talent. So, the results will likely be mixed. Once they jell a bit, then we should be in for some real thrills.

Second, I firmly believe this team has the ability to beat any team in the league and not in a fluky off-night for the opposing club sort of way, but that will only occur if Coach McMillan can can mold these players, assuage their egos and coax the best performances out of them as possible and the young guys come to play consistently. I am confident the character of Coach and the players will make both of these things a reality.

Third, while I hope for a 5 or 6 seed in the playoffs, realistically a 7 or 8 is what we should get. Next year will be a completely different story though.

That said, Go Blazers...Beat LA!!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Did the ESPN Editors Miss Something?

LA Clippers GM Elgin Baylor resigned yesterday or was fired. Who knows. Long has he been a punchline to NBA jokes, especially for Bill Simmons. Well, Bill Simmons is a gracious man who wrote a great column today about Elgin. Touching on his importance in the civil rights movement, the development of the NBA, and the development of players' rights.

Simmons recounted one conversation between he and Elgin regarding the lap of luxury today's NBA players live in, including chartered flights. To which Elgin responded:

"Sheeeeeeeeeet," he said. "When I played, we flew coach and carried our own bags! We landed two, three, four times! You ever hear about the time we crashed in a cornfield?"

(emphasis mine). It's not like the Disney conglomerate to allow those sorts of words, even alternative spellings, onto their website.

I have a screen grab below for verification purposes in case the editors end up changing it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rudy Will Put Points On Your Face

The NBA season can't get here soon enough, but we'll have to make do with Trailblazer training camp opening on Tuesday. This is a much anticipated season in Rip City with newcomers Jerryd Bayless, Rudy Bayless and Greg Oden finally taking the court for the Blazers. Last season's surprising 41-41 record has expectations and excitement high. To whet fan appetites, Monday was a media day for Portland and Rudy Fernandez has laid down the gauntlet for his fellow countryman, Pau Gasol.

On who he's looking forward to playing against the most: "Pau. I've never played against him, only on the same team. I want to put points on your face."

Well, Rudy has already put points on Dwight Howard's face. Why not on Pau?

I nominate "I want to put points on your face" as the statement of the year.
In case anybody cares, you can find most of my work nowadays over at Unprofessional Foul. It's only my soccer related content, but with the NBA season starting back up I'll have more material here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just Do It: Steal and Stab

In a sign of the times, I'm not sure what the sign is other than people are opportunistic bastards, onlookers swiped Nike shoes strewn across the road after a fatal accident. Kerry Ray Boatman of Michigan was riding in the sleeper cab of the truck after when the driver swerved to miss a car. The maneuver caused the trailer to split open and threw Boatman from the cab, killing him.

Thankfully, there was some good to come from this tragedy. Free shoes for some lucky travelers.

Several people attempted to steal some of the load of Nike athletic shoes being carried by one of the trucks.

Oregon State Police troopers at the crash along Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge did not arrest anyone trying to take the boxes of shoes. But Lt. Gregg Hastings of OSP said several people, apparently also stalled because of the fire, were trying to do so.

There's a picture of the accident, but lack of computer geek skills prevents me from enlarging this tiny little picture. UPDATE: I was able to locate a bigger picture of the wreck on KATU.com as you can see above and another picture to the right.

In other Nike news, the shoe company is pulling its Nike Air Stab shoes from the market in Britain. This comes after a spate of stabbings in England, including some Nike employees themselves.

All of this while Nike celebrates the 20th anniversary of its iconic "Just Do It" slogan.

[Photos: KATU]

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cocked and Ready To Fire

In a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays today, tempers flared. In the second inning Tampa pitcher James Shields hit Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp with a pitch. After which, Crisp charged the mound. Shields threw a wild haymaker (right) that if it had connected could have made him into the next Kermit Washington. Well, maybe not that infamous because at Crisp saw it coming.

[Photo: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer]

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Triple Crown Fashion

The final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, will be run this weekend. Big Brown won the first two legs and will try to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. I hope he wins, so "analysts" will quit trotting out (HA!) that stat.

The only people who know anything about horse racing are degenerate gamblers who drink and smoke too much. Everybody else attending these events is just there to be seen. Like at the Derby. The women are really into the hats.

It's the shoes, however, that are most important at all of these events. The horses have their own shoes, of course. But, I have been provided a photo of the latest shoe fashion that all the well-heeled will be wearing at Belmont this weekend.

The rumor is that Sarah Jessica Parker will be around this weekend to announce her endorsement. Maybe if she turns her ankle, somebody will put her down.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

John Canzano On Thongs

Local sports columnist John Canzano has a blog where he plugs his paper pieces and doles out info that he doesn't put in the paper. He also will from time to time opine on other subjects. This time...thongs....for what reason I do not know.

On the thong-appropriate age issue... just to be clear, it's NEVER appropriate for a male to wear a thong. A friend of mine maintains that the cutoff for females is 52 years old. He has his reasons. But I'm not into placing restrictions on women's undergarments, especially ones I'm not seeing.


If someone feels like they have the caboose to pull off a thong at 60, and she feels loose and free enough to do, and has the confidence, even under their tearaway warmups, I'm not going to stop her.

Gah...I need a mind scrubber. And, while Canzano may be correct, I will never take fashion advice from a sports columnist (see Whitlock, Jason above).

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Robert Weintraub, This Is For You.

I don't how many of you are familiar with Robert Weintraub's writings on Deadspin, but if you are, I pity you. He may be a great writer but whatever he is trying to do on Deadspin just isn't funny and above all Deadspin is about bringing the funny.

The Ultimate In Sportsmanship

Sport is a competition, a battle if you will (but no disrespect to our soldiers intended), between opposing sides attempting to prevail. Not much different than many things in life...relationships, marriage, politics, war...but there is an ethos of respect generally involved for those participating and watching sport. For as much bravado, machismo and chest thumping athletes do on the field, the general course of conduct is that when a play is over, a game is over, or you are no longer involved in the play that your personal battle is over until the next. Football players help each other up after a tackle, hockey players shake hands after a game and so on. It is one of the most admirable aspects of the sport.

Well, I may have just seen the greatest display of sports(wo)manship ever on the news this morning. In a softball game between Western Oregon University and Central Washington University, Sarah Tucholsky of Western Oregon hit what would eventually be a game-winning three run home run in the top of the second inning. As Tucholsky rounded first she missed the bag and when she returned to touch it her knee gave way.

Unable to circle the bases, the rules stated she could not be helped around the bases by any of her teammates. So Central Washington Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace carried Tucholsky around the bases, letting one foot touch each of the bags until she made it home.

This is an amazing act of selflessness on the Central Washington players' part because not only would this actually affect the score of the game but it was still during the play of the game. Amazing. Acts like these reinvigorate the belief that we are still a respectful society. A big round of applause is necessary for the Central Washington team who managed to show us all what sports(wo)manship is truly about.

Ed. Note: For those of you wondering why I have been posting far less in the recent months on this blog, I just wanted to let you know that I am also now contributing at Unprofessional Foul. All of my soccer posting is done over there now and that is a big portion of what I post about. I am still posting here, but I just need to get things smoothed out so I can do both. So, check me out at Unprofessional Foul and all of the other great contributors over there.

[Photo Credit: New York Times]

Monday, April 07, 2008

French Fail To Foil Flame

Although valiant in their efforts, the French have failed to extinguish the Olympic flame on its journey around the globe towards the 2008 Beijing Olympics. While gallivanting through Paris, the Olympic torch faced never before seen French obstacles to an advancing juggernaut. Usually, they lay down and take it. Not this time.

Protesting China's human rights record and recent treatment of Tibet, the French managed to slow the long, slow march to Beijing of the flame. Protesters impeded the flame and even managed to get close enough to douse the flame in water. In typical French fashion they failed to extinguish it. But, what the French failed to do, the organizers did--four times--to avoid the protesters.

Thankfully, there is a backup flame so that the even when the torch is extinguished the Olympic flame lives on...in an enclosed lantern. In classic political speak, the Chinese government played down the French (and British) antics.

Wang Hui, the media head for the Beijing Olympics organising committee, today condemned what she called a "few separatists" involved in the protests, insisting the relay would continue as planned.

"The smooth progress of the torch relay cannot be stopped and will definitely be a big success," she added.

Yes, this has been smooth progress. Just a few bumps in the road for the Chinese tank...I mean flame. Protests are expected elsewhere along the relay in San Francisco.

UPDATE: Kiss My Ass

Prior to the 2007-08 NBA season, Portland Trailblazer center, Joel Pryzbilla, wagered with the team trainer, Jay Jensen, that he would play in all 82 games this season and if he did Jensen would kiss his lily white ass (or maybe it would still be clothed, I don't know) at half-time of the 82nd game at center court. Pryz has had a tough time with injuries during his career and was determined to play the whole season. Unfortunately, Pryzbilla broke a bone in his hand last night and won't get to cash in on the bet because he will miss the remainder of the season....five whole games.

Tough break for the man. Now he won't get to know the thrill of having another man's lips planted on his ass in front of 20,000 people.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

OSU Baseball Team Making Like The Football Squad

Two current and one former OSU baseball players have been arrested for firing bullets that struck a house and car. Jorge Reyes, last year's College World Series MVP, and John Wallace both are current members of the team and Anton Maxwell is a former pitcher for the Beavs.

Corvallis Police spokesman Dave Henslee said the men were seen using a rifle to shoot at soda cans in the backyard of Maxwell's house early Tuesday, and some of the bullets went through a fence.

Brian Bodtker, one of seven students who lives in the house on the other side of the fence, said two of the bullets lodged in an outside wall but one went through his bedroom window. Three more bullets hit a car parked in front of the same window.

So, maybe it's not the University of Miami, but it certainly is stupid.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Kiss My Ass

Professional athletes are well known to be the gambling types. Charles Barkley admitted that he has probably lost $10 million gambling, Michael Jordan is a well-known gambler and some conspiracists believe that Jordan's first retirement was actually a suspension for gambling, and some have even gone so far as to create gambling enterprises (Ric Tocchet). So, it should come as no surprise that NBA ballers bet on all sorts of things. Joel Pryzbilla, for example, bet the team trainer, Jay Jensen, that he would play in all 82 games this season after missing significant amounts of games each season during his career.

So when Blazers athletic trainer Jay Jensen - who tends to the aches and pains of Przybilla - heard Przybilla's goal of playing in 82 games, he snickered.

"He kind of laughed at me,'' Przybilla said of Jensen. "So I said, 'Do you want to make a bet?' ''

At that moment The Bet was established:

If Przybilla doesn't play in all 82 games, he has to buy Jensen dinner. But if he does play in every game, Jensen has to kiss Przybilla's behind at half court after the Blazers' final game.

Pryzbilla has another 24 games to go to win the bet, so it could still be lost. But, if I were Jensen I would start stocking up on pink eye medicine.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Orleans Gets By Without Tracy McGrady

The 2008 NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans is finished and New Orleans is still standing, despite prognostications last year after the Las Vegas debacle. The 2007 All-Star Weekend went down as a thug Club Med. The "thugs" scared the suits and it was capped off with NFL cornerback Pac Man Jones's involvement in strip club shooting that left a bouncer paralyzed and introduced "making it rain" to the vernacular.

Even some of the NBA ballers were worried about New Orleans hosting the All-Star Game. Houston's Tracy McGrady and Rafer Alston both verbalized their qualms.
"If I don't feel like it's going to be safe, if I'm on that team, I will think about not going," said McGrady as the Houston Rockets were preparing for tonight's match-up with the visiting Toronto Raptors.


Alston said if he did make his first all-star team next season he would likely go, but likely would go alone.
First off, karma's a bitch isn't it McGrady? He didn't make this year's squad. I know he qualified his statement, but really he probably shouldn't have tempted fate. And, Alston, he has a better chance of being the U.S. President than he does making an NBA All-Star team.

By all accounts, though, the New Orleans All-Star game went down better in Chocolate City than Sin City. There weren't the claimed multitude of criminal elements or criminal acts and people seemed to enjoy themselves without fear.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dana Jacobson Update

Many of you have probably heard of ESPN's Dana Jacobson's drunken antics at the Mike & Mike roast in Atlantic City recently. Deadspin.com later reported from a tipster that Jacobson stated the following: "f*** Notre Dame", "f*** Touchdown Jesus", and "f*** Jesus." This has all started a maelstrom with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League getting upset about the Jacobson comments and people calling for her head. Video then surfaced of the event but not of Jacobson's tirade. Jacobson was suspended for her ramblings and issued an apology.

Obviously the political pressure has increased significantly on ESPN regarding this matter. Enough so that ESPN has now doubled back on its "policy" of not commenting on personnel matters. I wonder if Jacobson's gender has anything to do with this given ESPN's less than stellar history with gender relations.

Regardless, I have learned that Bill Donohue considers the matter over.

On January 22, I said in a news release that ‘there is no evidence that ESPN is taking this matter seriously.’ I am happy to say that after speaking to two ESPN officials today, and having learned more about exactly what happened, that the are in fact taking this matter seriously. Indeed, I am convinced that what occurred at the roast will not happen again.

To be sure, Jacobson’s remarks were patently offensive; no one involved in this incident, including her, is maintaining otherwise. But it is also true that there is no evidence that what we are dealing with is a bigot—lots of people who have made bigoted comments are not inveterate bigots. No, what we are dealing with is a person who went off the rails while drunk at a raucous event. “The ESPN officials whom I spoke to answered the questions I had to my satisfaction. Therefore, as far as the Catholic League is concerned, this matter is over.

ESPN has mollified the Catholic attack dog. And, I have also learned that ESPN will be meeting with the Christian Defense Coalition on Friday after the group protested ESPN corporate HQ in Bristol, Connecticut. This information comes from an email from ESPN Ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber sent to me by a reader.

So, what have we learned today? ESPN will cave to political pressure and violate its own policies on personnel matters. Any way Jesse Jackson can get righteous and indignant about Harold Reynolds's situation so we can get more information?